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Tip-In: 81 Down - One To Go...Or, Lessons For Next Season

Loren Woods had a career-high 14 rebounds and was dominant on both ends of the court adding 12 points and a block to his totals for the evening...

Should I stop this recap here?

To the Raptors' fans who watched last night's dismal effort as Toronto played out their final home-game of the season, yes, this is indeed all that really needs to be said.

The Raptors dropped their 54th game of the season in hideous fashion 120-95, and at times it indeed seemed like Loren Woods was the only Raptor who showed up for the game.

Morris Peterson did actually turn in his usual solid performance but was saddled by foul trouble all evening and got no assistance from anyone other than Woods.

I mean, re-read that sentence. The same Loren Woods who spent the vast majority of this season bolted to the bench was the Raptors' BEST PLAYER last night?

Apparently I wasn't the only one appalled by the Raptors' effort. It was reported during the telecast by courtside commentator Norma Wick that coach Sam Mitchell in a third quarter timeout said something to the effect of..."I don't care if you get six fouls, if I feel you're not playing hard you're going to stay in and embarass yourself in front of 17,000 fans who paid good money to see you play..." to his team.


While it's good to hear Sam taking this approach, it still boggles my mind at how terrible the team played last night. Turnovers, goal-tending calls, unnecessary fouls - you name it. And these factors combined with the Pacers' ridiculous shooting took the little wind the Raptors had, right out of their sails. Toronto got down early as has been the case often this season, and then battled back to start the second quarter almost drawing even with Indiana at one point.

Unfortunately, the Pacers just didn't miss.

They were 12 for 15 from the field in the first quarter (80 per cent!!) and continued to hit the majority of their open shots thus killing any hopes the Raptors had of one of their typical comebacks. Peja Stojakovic was especially deadly with 27 points but Jermaine O'Neal, Stephen Jackson and Anthony Johnson all scored over 20 points in this game that was never in question.

Which is what was perhaps most disappointing of all. We've covered all of Toronto's games this season to some extent and in the vast majority of them, this was a team that played hard regardless of their opposition. I remember losses to Golden State and Detroit where the team just didn't bring it but this game tonight was maybe their worst effort of the season. And for a team playing its final home-game, on "fan appreciation night" none-the-less, and with Canadian hero Cindy Klassen in attendance (whose energy and comeptitive spirit would have been really useful last night) this is disgraceful. Sure, the Raps just couldn't hit their jump shots, but ANY defensive intensity would have at least kept this game within a winnable realm!

For Bryan Colangelo, a game away from heading into perhaps this franchise's most important summer ever, this game should be one big lesson. It doesn't matter how many Chris Bosh speeches are made. It doesn't matter if next year the Raptors can score 200 points a game. If they keep allowing an offensively challenged squad like the Pacers, 26th in the league in scoring, to score at will and shoot almost 60 per cent, this team will be back in the draft again.